Venice and Overtourism: Simulating Sustainable Development Scenarios through a Tourism Carrying Capacity Model
- The emergence of low-cost airlines that allow more people to engage in city-tripping. This has certainly positively influenced the number of people who visit heritage cities in general, and Venice in particular. Moreover, in the case of Venice, it has allowed people to come from further away, and the dominance of the Austrian, Swiss, and German markets, observed in the 1980s and explained by their proximity, has been rapidly undermined;
- The rise of the sharing economy, facilitated by the diffusion of the Internet as an indispensable instrument for tourists to access information, reserve tourism products, and share their experience with others;
- The shift of the economic barycenter towards Central Europe, Asia, and South America. In fact, Brazilian, Chinese (the sixth market for Venice), and Russian clientele have gained importance, and their contribution to total tourist expenditure has grown considerably during the last decade;
- Instability on a global scale and terrorist attacks that have penalized some and benefited other destinations, including Venice;
- The increasing popularity of cruise tourism for which Venice is an attractive port of call, and since cruise ships have been growing increasingly large, its impact on Venice’s relationship with tourism in general has become truly disturbing;
- The diversification of the supply of accommodation, from the year 2000 onwards, with the rise in the number of B&Bs, and more recently, of private apartments that are offered and reserved through dedicated web portals like Airbnb, and couch-surfing schemes. This emergence of cheaper forms of accommodation has probably helped overnight tourism at the expense of day-tripping and has, to a certain extent, enabled locals to have their part of the Venetian tourism cake.
2. Literature Review
2.1. Tourism Carrying Capacity: Some Conceptual Issues
3. Materials and Methods
3.1. The Fuzzy Linear Programming (LP) Approach for the TCC. The Basic Model.
3.2. The Interval and Fuzzy Coefficient LP Model (FCLP)
3.3. The Fuzzy Parametric Programming Model (FPP)
3.4. The Case of Venice. The FCLP Model Revisited
- Accommodation sector. This system has been divided into two different categories: The hotel sector, and the extra-hotel sector. Tourism business in Venice is continuously developing especially regarding accommodation. New big high-quality hotels are opening on the islands in the lagoon, increasing the number of hotels (272 structures in 2016 offering the total number of 18,000 beds). The extra-hotel sector has grown considerably for two reasons: Regional law n. 33 (2002) that stimulates the opening of new tourism facilities connected to the accommodation category called “complementary accommodation facilities” such as B&Bs, hostels, and vacation rentals (from 126 structures in 2000 to 3200 in 2016), and the disruptive phenomenon of the sharing economy in tourism represented by the Airbnb platform (around 6000 listings in the municipality of Venice in 2016).
- Food and beverage category. Tourists as visitors and city users, as well as walking around Venice and visiting museums and churches, also need a place to sit for lunch or dinner. The food and beverage sector therefore plays a key role in the Venetian tourism systems and it is necessary to monitor the performance (number of shifts per day) and the capacity (number of sits) of this department.
- Mobility and transportation facilities. This system has been divided into two categories: The number of parking places in the historical center of Venice and in the main gateways of the mainland, and the capacity of the boat lines (vaporetti in Italian) as the main means of public transportation in Venice.
- Environmental issues and waste management. Even if waste management, collecting process, and disposal in the historical center of Venice has improved greatly in recent decades, it is still a big issue due to the small number of official residents (around 53,000 in 2018) and the continuous high number of arrivals of city users such as workers and students (around 20,500 per day), and visitors and tourists (66,800 per day on average).
- Culture sector (regarding a cultural destination). This is the main attraction of a destination. It is one of the main reasons that determines the motivation to visit a destination, and it is the main point of interest and visit. In our case, we have considered St Mark’s Square the main sight of Venice.
- Taking into account the possible users of these sub-systems as far as TCC is concerned, it is possible to identify different profiles such as: Italian and foreign tourists who decide to stay in Venice for a minimum of one night in a hotel (TH); Italian and foreign tourists who decide to sleep in an extra-hotel accommodation such as B&B or Airbnb (NTH); excursionists who come to visit Venice for different purposes (leisure or business), but decide to return home or not to sleep in Venice’s historical center (E). The chosen scheme of visiting Venice (type and choice of accommodation) also affects the visitors’ daily budget.
- HB = number of available beds in hotels
- NHB = number of available beds in extra-hotels
- L = number of lunches which can be served daily
- P = number of individual available parking places
- T = number of individual available urban trips
- WD = solid waste capacity
- SMV = maximum number of visitors that can be hosted in St Mark’s Square
4. Results and Discussion
Conflicts of Interest
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|Tourism Sub-System||Description||Max Capacity of People Per Tourism Sub-System||Hotel Tourist Utilization Rate (TH)||Extra-Hotel Tourist Utilization Rate (NTH)||Visitor/Day-Tripper Utilization Rate (E)||Source of the Data|
|Accommodation—Hotel facilities||Number of bed places in hotel facilities (from 1 to 5 stars) in the historical centre of Venice area.||18,000|
If we assume a highly satisfactory rate of occupancy of 80%, the aspiration is 14400.
|1||0||0||Source: Istat (Italian national statistical institute) and Municipality of Venice (statistical and tourism departments)|
|Accommodation—Extra-hotel facilities||This sub-system includes the number of bed places available for tourist in official extra-hotel facilities (B&B, Hostels, Vacation rentals, etc.) and unofficial facilities (number of available bed places in the listing of Airbnb platform) in the historical centre of Venice.||34,000|
If we assume a highly satisfactory rate of occupancy of 60%, the aspiration is 20,400.
|0||1||0||Source: Istat (Italian national statistical institute), Municipality of Venice (statistical and tourism departments) and AirDna (private company selling Airbnb platform data)|
|Food and beverage industry—restaurants||This is the number of sitting places in restaurants, pizzeria, and dining rooms in historical centre of Venice. It has been calculated asking the capacity of the room (number of sits) multiplied by the number of lunch turns/shifts.||240,000||0.75||0.65||0.2||Source: survey conducted by the Ca ’Foscari University of Venice in 2018|
|Parking facilities||This is the number of available parking places in the historical centre of Venice (4 parking) and the parking place of the principal gateways to Venice (3 parking in Mestre).||20,000||0.33||0.33||0.75||Source: AVM (AVM holding manages public parking areas in Venice and Mestre), Garage San Marco, Venice City Park srl and Green Park websites|
|Public transportation—public boat||This has been calculated taking in consideration the total capacity of people per two types of public transportation boats per the number of line and shift passing through the Grand Canal from 8 to 20.||46,000||1||1||1||Source: AVM holdings manages public transportation in Venice municipality through ACTV spa (Azienda Comunale Trasporti Pubblici)|
|Waste management||This is the daily rate of waste production in Kilograms imputable of tourists in the historical center of Venice.||100,000||2.3||2||1||Source: Gruppo Veritas (public multiutility for waste, water and energy facilities)|
|Cultural sights and attractions||This refers to the maximum number of people can enter St Mark’s Square for security reasons.||10,000||0.4||0.3||0.7||This data has been calculated using this formula: max occupancy = (flow rate) × (time) × (total egress width)|
|Variable Values Result|
|Output Objective Function|
|Result current case of Venice||Result case 2: St Mark’s Square closed to excursionists||Result case 3 St Mark’s Square closed to visitors|
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Bertocchi, D.; Camatti, N.; Giove, S.; van der Borg, J. Venice and Overtourism: Simulating Sustainable Development Scenarios through a Tourism Carrying Capacity Model. Sustainability 2020, 12, 512. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020512
Bertocchi D, Camatti N, Giove S, van der Borg J. Venice and Overtourism: Simulating Sustainable Development Scenarios through a Tourism Carrying Capacity Model. Sustainability. 2020; 12(2):512. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020512Chicago/Turabian Style
Bertocchi, Dario, Nicola Camatti, Silvio Giove, and Jan van der Borg. 2020. "Venice and Overtourism: Simulating Sustainable Development Scenarios through a Tourism Carrying Capacity Model" Sustainability 12, no. 2: 512. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020512